I think Shadespire is really good. My only complaint is that it is sort of LCG with its use of cards for power moves and scoring. This means you will want to collect all the factions to maximize card access. That said, it is WAY cheaper than other GW (or non-GW even) offerings and each faction is pretty cool with a unique focus.
From a hobbyist perspective, it lets you dabble in the GW universe with really cool lore and models without breaking the bank or needing to put together 5000 models just too play a short game.
From a gamer perspective I think calling it Warhammer lite is grossly misleading. It is a very good skirmish game with lots of think heavy choices and psychological dueling with your opponent. I think it is one of GWs best offerings in a very long time as they tend to be all about pushing models sales with bare bones dice chucking design strapped on. Shadespire is very tight with a very few number of activations in a game so you really need to think things through. With so few activations, luck mitigation is big here like in something like Blood Bowl. This also means it plays really fast with next to zero down time.
I really like Shadespire. The only reason it does not get to the table much is that I don’t really have a play group anymore for competitive skirmish games. If I did, this one would be king. Most of my game time is solo or co-op stuff now. But a cerebral 20 minute game with Skaven, Orks, and golden resurrected Valhalla Knights? Totally worth it if it fits your game group.
If you plan to take it to a game night, get the main box and one or two faction boxes. Games play really fast and the variety of different factions/ cards really make the game shine. Also, the factions in the main box are thematically opposed, but maybe the driest matchup with out of the box (starter) card options. Before your session, I’d also suggest putting the models together while watching the Watch It Played training and gameplay videos. While technically push to fit, dabs of glue and an exacto knife are probably a good call. Still, super easy models, low count, and they look great.
Short take comparison: similar to X-wing or Summoner Wars.